Rain hammered Butte and Harding Counties Tuesday night, washing out a stretch of highway between Belle Fourche and Buffalo, submerging vehicles and launching an extensive search for two women. One of the women was found alive Wednesday afternoon, and the search continues for the other.
Tuesday night around 11:30, Melissa Bleibaum got a frantic call from her mother saying she and her travel partner were trapped on a road that was flooded, and her SUV Was filling with water. The next time Melissa spoke to her mother was 12 hours and an unbelievable journey later.
Roxanne Bleibaum, 57, and Kristen Lakin, 24, were driving from the North Dakota oil fields to spend the night in Deadwood before making their way to Colorado, when they became stranded.
"At about 11:30 last night we got calls of vehicles stranded near the Battle Creek Bridge on Highway 85," said Fred Lamphere, Butte County Sheriff.
As rescue units arrived, they found four others who were trapped on top of a vehicle in the same area. Heavy construction equipment was used to rescue them.
"I came back to the area and the waters has started to recede a little bit and I could see the back end of the trail blazer sticking out of the water," said Lamphere.
It was just 200 yards from where rescue crews saved the group of four.
Wednesday morning, search teams on land, boat and in the air were deployed. And by noon, a very tired, emotionally distraught and shoeless Roxanne Bleibaum was found to the relief of her daughter, Melissa.
"When the sheriff said I have somebody here that would like to talk to you, and I got to talk to my mom on the phone after searching for her for 12 hours, I was overjoyed to hear her voice," said Melissa Bleibaum.
Roxanne had drifted nearly two miles from her vehicle and then followed a trail to Highway 85 where a County maintenance worker discovered her.
"She was excited because she had flagged down several other people and nobody would stop."
Melissa says her mother's survival was a miracle.
"They were not going to give up until they found somebody. And they didn't and she found them, so hopefully they find Kristen," she said.